The Case for Culture in Family Therapy

The Case for Culture in Family Therapy

We are at a precipice. Not just as a country but as a discipline, a category of theories, and most importantly as therapists. White supremacy is being called out consistently and coherently among activists and it is time to do more than just acknowledge it in the field of psychology. 

I believe that family therapist are uniquely capable of addressing multicultural and contextual issues because of our emphasis on systems. We are already looking outside of the individual and at the system they exist within. Therefore that same skill and framework can  be used to include looking beyond the family of origin to understand the other systems  that have an impact in our clients lives.

If  there exists a true desire to make therapy a safe space then there needs to be an emphasis on allowing contextual issues to be brought into the room. For example if a client is dealing with issues around documentation, refugee status, a Muslim ban and there is no conversation around the impact that it might possibly be having on their lives then there’s a silencing effect around that struggle and that silencing effect can contribute to the client not feeling safe in the room and not benefiting from therapy. It can also hamper the therapist’s ability to join effectively with the client and the therapist can become simply another arm of white supremacy. This becomes particularly important when it comes to court mandated clients. 

The fact is that you can have therapeutic authority while still maintaining curiosity and being willing to be educated by your clients on their specific issues such as religion, their culture and language, their socioeconomic status, their identifications in marginalized groups and more. 

Family therapy matters because we occupy a space within an often eurocentric discipline that has a potential to be truly radical. 

David Keith said it well when he wrote, 

“family therapy also has remained a movement, applying what has been learned about systems and families to collaborative health care delivery, qualitative research, gender issues, economic justice, culture diversity, and other issues that affect all disenfranchised members of our society.”

A key takeaway from this is the reality that family therapists already go against the grain. We fight against an individualized pathological diagnosis managed health care system to meet our clients where they are. We approach them with curiosity and genuine positive regard. We are flexible in that we are willing to take time to work with families of all types and sizes to help heal and empower our clients. 

This is why it is so important for us to also meet them on issues that may seem invisible but are impacting their lives. We speak about learned helplessness without questioning the systems in place that perpetuate that helplessness. We use a DSM that only diagnoses victims rather than perpetrators. So we find ourselves at this precipice, one in which we can jump aboard the movements sweeping the nation for access to care, and equality, or we can stay in our bubble and continue to “shrink” rather than expand the narratives of ourselves and our clients. 

Saying Goodbye to Feminism in 2016

Saying Goodbye to Feminism in 2016

Photo Credit:

 

I have written numerous times both here and on twitter about the issues that people of color face and how those issues are being heard, represented, co-opted, ignored and more throughout this election cycle.

Time and time again one theme has consistently brought me into a rage. I called myself a feminist when I said I would vote for the old white guy. I called myself an intersectional-feminist when I denounced Hillary Clinton’s use of the word super-predator, her Gandhi joke, her insults toward undocumented laborers during her time as senator of NY. Throughout these months though I have learned that Latino voters like myself and many of those closest to me are set to vote for Hillary.  I have learned that African Americans are also a huge voting bloc of Hillary. People will vote how they choose and that is part of what makes America amazing.

What bothers me though is not that American’s willingly are voting for a candidate that wants us to go to war with Iran, or one that plans on regulating Wall Street with people that have made their fortunes on that mumbo-jumbo. What bothers me is how her campaign has co-opted intersectionality to the point that much like the Republican critique, liberals are engaging solely in “Identity Politics.” Look I take no offense at the SJW title, in fact I have called myself that in the past. I will always fight for mental-health care and comprehensive sex-ed funding. Free universal education, abortion-rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, survivor rights, affordable housing, and all the things that I am passionate about.

But let me clear, I will not hand over my battle to white feminists who say that millenial females voting for Bernie are doing it for the boys, going to hell, or “have had it too easy.” You can’t have it both ways. You cannot co-opt our struggle and then deny its existence when we don’t fall in line. You don’t get to use rape language in referring to politicians keeping their word about a debate. You don’t get to erase the millions of black,brown, asian, etc voters that have found a messenger in Bernie Sanders. This agenda is evident when David Brock says Black Lives don’t matter to Bernie Sanders because of his campaign ad. He ignored the millenial brown woman cheering and engaging in politics. He ignored the black woman smiling and hugging Bernie Sanders. He ignored members of the crowd who could be black, brown, Arab, Indian etc because it did not fit his narrative of the Bernie Sanders campaign. He ignored the beautiful image of the Latino father and daughter supporting their choice for president together. This image resonates with me because too often Latino and Black men are portrayed as deadbeats so I appreciate the campaign taking the time to show this father daughter duo. Could the campaign do better? Absolutely and they have but its been a genuine growth rather than simple pandering.

#Notmyabuela

We do not need a white savior of any gender. Bernie Sanders is not the movement but he is the loudest voice right now. He doesn’t quit when the media tells him to stop talking about economics. He doesn’t shut up when the DNC wants him to quit. He keeps talking even when the media all but ignores him. His stance on private prisons is why Hillary Clinton stopped accepting direct donations from them. He has visited the border and spoken to veterans who have been deported. We the people publicly financing his campaign do not want him to quit.

I do not see in Hillary Clinton a true ally in the struggle for clean water, affordable housing, $15 min wage, or an end to fracking. Hillary Clinton has not won me over because her campaign has whitewashed the Sanders campaign in a way that benefits themselves. Every disagreement engenders a feminist critique that is as self-serving as it is obvious. Hillary Clinton may be a woman but let’s not forget that this is the woman who said she was “dead-broke” after leaving the white-house. This is the same candidate who employs David Brock as the head of her super-pac. This candidate has no issues benefiting from her wealth, her connections, and her control of the media.

Her campaign weakens feminism when they attribute all critique to sexism. When we talk about her inconsistency on the issues we are discussing facts. When we point out her support for fracking around the world we are not attacking her gender we are questioning whether or not as president she will make it a point to ensure the needs of the people over corporations. She did not do this as Secretary of State in Honduras, Colombia, Haiti, or Libya. Time and time again Hillary Clinton has placed the needs of the powerful over the needs of the average America.

She does not support free public colleges at a time when students are saddling themselves with large amounts of debt trying to just get out of the neighborhoods they were born into. To say that she does not support it because rich people will take advantage is disingenuous at best and bullshit at worst. The fact of the matter is that the Clintons and Trumps of the world do not attend Rutgers University. I don’t say that because Rutgers is not a great institution after all it is my alma mater but because the fact of the matter is that the elite don’t choose their children’s school based on finances and that argument quickly falls apart.

Recently an article was published that attempted to smear Bernie Sanders as a rapist. If that sounds appalling to you then we are definitely on the same page. The fact of the matter is that 1 in 4 college age women are likely to be victims of sexual assault. This stat is based on reported assaults and I can tell you from my work experience that the vast majority of assaults are not reported. Poor women, women of color, native women, trans women, and sex workers are much more likely to be abused. To treat Hillary Clinton as a victim minimizes their struggles and takes away from the fight to teach consent, to establish a survivor’s bill of rights, and minimizes the work that so many therapists, social workers, etc do with survivors of trauma. It also makes any critique on her an assault which serves to deflect away from the issues. You delegitimize feminism when you posit men as intrinsically dangerous and victimizers.

I have been told that I am a minority among minorities for my support of Bernie Sanders. Other prominent women of color Bernie supporters have been told that they owe their vote to Hillary Clinton and feminists without acknowledging that many in the suffrage movement were virulently racist. In fact it was Elizabeth Cady Stanton who fought to keep Black men from the right to vote.

“Asked straight out whether she were ‘willing to have the colored man enfranchised before the woman,’ she answered ‘no; I would not trust him with all my rights; degraded, oppressed himself, he would be more despotic with the governing power than even our Saxon rulers are.’”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Hill and Wang, 2009)

We will not hand over our movements to anyone. Women of color have fought for thousands of years around the world for their right to have a voice and we will not stay silent in the face of such appropriation of our movements, our voices, our justice. To see Hillary Clinton suddenly decide to support the #fightfor15 was a clear example to me of how her campaign will take every opportunity to spin something in her favor. Even every critique of President Obama has turned into hatred and rejection of his presidency rather than a conversation among people who support the man but do not agree with certain of his policies. I have mentioned before how disappointing it is to know that President Obama has been dubbed our “Deporter in Chief.” This is a legitimate critique and one that is worthy of discussion to see what can be done and how to move forward. Rather than acknowledge her role in the Mexican drug war, Honduran coup, and U.S. Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and how that has affected migration to America she has instead attempted to appeal to the right by stating that the immigrants mainly children should simply be sent back.

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In trying to treat Hillary Clinton as a true candidate and opponent that she is Bernie has been attacked as sexist time and time again. While I can agree that Bernie lacks a certain political finesse that is one of his appeals to voters. We feel so disconnected from politics not just because of the vast sums passing hands but because there exists a sense of deceit among politicians that voters have simply had to accept.With Bernie Sanders it is different. He is responsive to different voices without flip flopping. He takes into consideration dissent rather than decry it as sexist or make himself a victim.

The reality is that his campaign has been an uphill battle from the beginning. In this instance the woman in the fight was much better prepared to go to work. She had the support of the party and super delegates long before any votes were cast. The problem is not that she benefits from this preferential treatment but that she refuses to acknowledge that this is being done on her behalf. How does she expect us to believe that she will tackle institutional racism when members of her own party are standing with Payday Lenders over poor and working class American people?

The problem for me is that while her campaign is very effective at making her the victim they are also blatantly dishonest and this has turned me off of not just Hillary Clinton but feminism. The reality for me is that feminism is too often synonymous with white-feminism as evidenced by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Latinxs, Africans Americans, Native Americas, Asian Americans, etc deserve a space to tell our stories, to contribute to policy discussions, and to control our narrative. Hillary Clinton’s campaign has shown me that traditional feminism is not the place to accomplish that. Until and only if that changes I will continue to support mujerism, and womanism and the remarkable people looking to create change in our nation of inequalities. Throwing around Bernie Sander’s #white-privilege without looking at the privilege that come with being a first-lady, senator, secretary of state, multi-millionaire, mother-in-law to a hedge fund manager, attorney, and presumptive (WHITE) nominee of the Democratic party is lazy thinking and I am officially over all of it.

My response to Joan Walsh’s The Nation article “Why I’m Supporting Hillary Clinton, With Joy and Without Apologies”

My response to Joan Walsh’s The Nation article “Why I’m Supporting Hillary Clinton, With Joy and Without Apologies”

First of all, this response is not an attack on Joan Walsh, Hillary supporters, her political views, her daughter or anything else.

What this is, is a response based off of my personal feelings this article brought up as I read it.

I disagree with the notion that a woman that does not support Hillary Clinton is somehow “not ready” for a woman president. This narrative suits Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and is supported by some versions of feminist theories. I believe though, that this is a false dichotomy and a disservice to women, especially women of color.

I also took issue with the view that a distrust of Hillary Clinton is an anti-woman view which to me appears to be the sub-point of her critique of the young man that declared millennials the generation of Bernie Sanders. She compares this critique to that of the 2008 primary. I understand that men and women are held to different standards and that Hillary Clinton faces issues that the male candidates do not. I respect that completely and an analysis of this is worthwhile but dismissing critique as anti-feminist ignores the core issue.

This is the quote,

Yes, the “likability” issue. I found myself thinking: Not again. Why the hell does she have to put up with this again?

Here’s the thing, this is a real issue. I would not classify it as a “likability” issue for myself personally but a trust issue. There are many valid reasons that I feel a level of distrust for Hillary Clinton that are based on things regarding more than just her policies, past and present. I discuss this in my piece Why Some Feminists are Choosing an Old White Guy over Hillary and for the sake of space I will not get into it here.

Another point of contention for me is the statement that the Hillary supporters, specifically millennials are somehow being erased. This is intriguing because it appears to be both anecdotal and based on personal experience. I have no problem with that but in the spirit of sharing personal experience, as a woman of color I have some experience with being erased. As a Bernie supporter I have experience being erased, by everyone from mainstream media to Hillary Clinton herself.
I disagree with the Bernie supporters that have attacked both Joan Walsh, and her daughter. I am happy to debate but I refuse to descend into negative attacks, and trolling. If I won’t do it in real life, I certainly will not do it online.

I will speak to the nepotism claims though. I believe that both young women discussed in the article are capable and worthy of any positions that they hold and I think that it shouldn’t be an issue in that aspect. However that is different from the positions of opportunity and privilege. There are many capable, worthy, young women of color that are not privy to the sort of connections and privilege that are available to these young women.

This is the same privilege that is prevalent throughout white feminism. This same privilege focuses on reproductive autonomy exclusively while completely neglecting other issues that are important to minority women such as access to housing, education, healthcare, and employment. This feminism is not intersectional and does not take into consideration the criminal justice system or the challenges inherent in higher education that limits the generational mobility the likes of which these young women can take for granted.

Again, this is not an attack on Joan Walsh or her daughter and their peers but it is frustrating and hurtful that as a feminist my voice is silenced for not supporting Hillary.
It is disappointing that my thought out and purposeful decision to support Bernie Sanders is taken instead as a failure to support women and that in my company are “vile, entitled young men.”I have spoken to Bernie supporters, and my feminist fiancee is one of them and I can assure you that he is not entitled or vile.

More than that though there is an assumption that we are all white, with easy lives who have just taken for granted the feminist movement. This is a common thread among Hillary supporters and it is why I wrote the aforementioned article.

The fact of the matter is that male, female, transgender, white, latino, asian, black, etc we are not having an easy go of it.
How much reproductive choice do we have when we are delaying families and home ownership because of student loans and a stagnant economy?

How much generational mobility can we obtain when higher education is not worth the money but is still necessary to be licensed or just to find some type of employment?

How many jobs are available to us when internships are unpaid but required for many professions?

To take it personal again, I am a marriage and family therapist in training. I also work multiple jobs, have a family and go to school full-time. I have thousands of dollars worth of student loans because a master’s degree is considered “optional” by our government.

There is a systemic failure on the part of colleges to keep costs low enough to where I would not need to accept minimum wage just to get my tuition paid. This is one of the many reasons why minorities are underrepresented in higher education. So many students are struggling trying to be the best in whatever their studies are while trying to survive. Therefore demanding free tuition is not entitled but a demand for equal opportunities. It is not so we can be lazy but so that we can work better jobs and get more experience in our fields. It is so we can live our education rather than just muddle through it as we take on the increasing amounts of responsibility inherent in a failed economy.

We are not entitled, we are angry.

The progressives have failed us time and time again. We are competing against our parents, and grandparents for entry level jobs that pay less and less year after year. We are mocked by politicians for pursuing careers in the helping professions. We are watching our parents struggle to afford a mortgage if they’re “lucky” while also paying thousands of dollars a year to the “Affordable Care Act” or just watching them get saddled with thousands of medical bills instead. 

I get that this may not be universal. Like I said things can be, and often are tougher for people of color.

The reality is though that Hillary is not speaking to people like me, she chooses to speak to the elite. She chooses to do expensive fundraisers where one plate can cover my tuition or healthcare for my self-employed dad. That is her choice and I respect it, I don’t hate her but I am disappointed in her. In my core I would love to see a woman president. I believe in equality of the sexes and I am damn sure a woman can be commander in chief of this country, but I do not believe in Hillary.

I am not with her and she is not with me.

I am not her target population and I am silenced when pundits say minorities are in the bag for Hillary. That is untrue. We are not uneducated, and afraid. We are strong, and we are standing up to demand a country that works for all not just those lucky enough to be born into capital, or the CEO’s that have siphoned off the wealth for themselves.

So to conclude this response, I just want to say we will not be silenced! We demand pay equity, reproductive, economic, educational, institutional freedom. Bernie supporters are not all the same. I am a latina, intersectional feminist, mom, grad student, therapist, atheist, millennial, and more and one label does not suffice for me. I support the candidate that believe has the integrity, passion, and conviction to create a lasting revolution that has mobilized disillusioned Americans like myself into deciding to invest into this archaic and corrupt system of government that we have. We are not going anywhere. We will fight for our future, whether it is against CEO’s on Wall Street, the GOP, lobbyists, or Donald Trump. So Joan Walsh, I hope that you read this and are better able to understand not only Bernie’s appeal but your own privilege.

Gun control, who’s fault is it?

Gun control, who’s fault is it?

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The above photo was recently cited by the press secretary for Hillary Clinton, Brian Fallon as proof that Bernie Sanders is on the side of the NRA and therefore weak on gun control. This is coming on the heels of President Obama’s executive actions on gun control. This also comes after President Obama said,

“I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform.”

I have some issues with the notion that not wanting to hold gun manufacturers and dealers liable for the actions of a buyer is somehow supporting the NRA.
Here’s why:

  1. there are no regulations (that i could find) regarding reporting suspicious behavior, or the purchase of a certain amount of ammunition, weapons, etc.

 

Also, the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 required financial institutions to work with U.S. government agencies to detect and prevent money laundering.

This is done by not just keeping records of transactions but also requiring the financial institution to file 3 types of reports depending on the transaction. They file a CTR if there is a deposit or cash transaction over $10,000.00 in a single business day. They file a MIL for cash purchases of monetary instruments between $3,000 to $10,000. They even have the Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) if there is suspicious activity possibly related to money laundering.

Why am I bringing this up? Well…….the crazy thing is there is no equivalent for this for gun dealers. The executive actions regarding background checks, funding for ATF, and mental health care are great moves forward but unless we will have some requirements for gun dealers/manufacturers that provide the government with the assistance and information that the financial reports give then we are being unfair and infringing on the 2nd amendment right to bear arms by holding them liable. I understand that some may say well people should not buy ammo in bulk. Perhaps you are right, I am not a gun owner so that makes sense to me BUT unless dealers are REQUIRED to report amount of ammo/weapons over a certain amount they should not be held responsible. Currently if they felt something was off but the background check was clear what are their options? If they refuse service do they risk legal action taken against them?

We do not sue car manufacturers for drunk drivers. We do not sue knife manufacturers for murders or injuries.

I support requiring manufacturers/dealers to report transactions that exceed a certain amount and I support providing them with assistance in this through a department at ATF that will review these reports to follow up on them. With a strengthened background check system like what president Obama is putting into place this can be very effective in deterring crime and finding those at risk of committing murders.

Hillary Clinton and other Democrats need to be a bit more pragmatic on this issue and understand that not wanting to make dealers/manufacturers liable is not a moral failing but instead a logical, rational decision. I am a progressive liberal that doesn’t hunt or own guns but I find it ridiculous to hold a group of people liable for something when our congress can’t even agree on background checks. There needs to be a common ground and it seems like Sanders is the only one willing to find it.

 

What do you think? Leave some comments.

The DNC Quagmire

The DNC Quagmire

For those not following the issues within the Democratic National Committee, it appears that there is a shift, or according to some an internal war going on.

You could say there have been issues for years as different factions have promoted their own issues and agendas. This has boiled over now with Independent senator Bernie Sanders running as a Democratic nominee for President. Why is this a problem? Well the Democratic party already had their nominee crowned and her name is Hillary Clinton. So what we have now are Bernie supporters, like myself being presented with a false dichotomy. Progressives versus Centrists, “True” Democrats versus the “New Democrats”, independents, first-time voters, those that are not of the elite and actually make up the working-class America the Dems are supposed to represent being pitted against lifelong Democrats. We are told that unless we want to give up our rights we must vote for Hillary even though she clearly is a centrist candidate that has advocated economic,and foreign policies that have hurt Americans.

The reality is that in America currently there is no true party of the people. Both parties have gambled with our rights, our economy, our environment, and our future. The belief seems to be that the social issues which I concede are highly important are the only issues. Unfortunately that isn’t true. The Democrats and Republicans have sold out to Wall St and big corporations and its happened nationwide. Social issues like abortion rights, access to birth control, the legalization of same-sex marriage are all very important but so are jobs, a lack of generational mobility, student debt, criminal justice reform, immigration reform, healthcare as a right, environmental justice, and so much more. In addition, despite the Supreme Court ruling there are no national anti-discrimination laws. While marriage has been legalized a lack of momentum in state legislatures means that the LGBTQ community is still at risk of legal discrimination.

Also while Obamacare has expanded Medicaid the working poor and small business owners are disproportionately affected. Either because employers are deciding to pay less or because its simply unaffordable to the point that the individual can qualify for an exemption as has been the experience for people in my immediate family. This is again due to a failure on the part of the DNC to elect up and down enough congresspeople to fight the GOP’s attack on healthcare as a right and their failure to advocate for single payer healthcare system. Multiple Democrats even distanced themselves from Obamacare rather than challenge the establishment and convince voters of the importance of Obamacare. They have allowed the GOP to establish a narrative that paints the Democratic party as weak and unrealistic. Voters get blamed when turnout is low as though that is the only reason why nothing gets done but thats talking points and it doesn’t accurately reflect the failure of the DNC to speak to and motivate voters.

The current job market, rising property taxes, unsuccessful wars, a lack of transparency in politics, gun violence, terrorism, educational costs, a lack of immigration reform, the fact that African-Americans continue to die at the hands of police all contribute to the frustration and disillusionment we feel towards establishment politics.
So here’s the thing, the DNC had options, they could have allowed a fair primary to go forward and gain new Democrats that support Bernie Sanders and abhor the rhetoric of the right or they could have done as they have, impeding a fair election and mocking Bernie’s supporters.
Marketing Hillary as the most electable candidate in retrospect seems ridiculous. Even if you look beyond Benghazi, the email scandal, the issues with the Clinton foundation, the selling of weapons to countries with human rights violations, there are still even more things the GOP can and will use against her in a primary. Bernie consistently is more likely to beat anyone on the right when compared to Hillary.

Maybe its time for America to end the two-party system that was never intended by the founding fathers. Until then though the DNC will need to reckon with its image, its leadership, its record, and prove to the American people that it will work for our votes. Until then I will continue to support the only candidate with strong values that can’t be bought. I endorse the candidate with a platform that addresses all of the issues that are important to America.

For more information visit: https://berniesanders.com/issues/

Bernie Sanders on the Berning Issues

Bernie Sanders on the Berning Issues

I struggled with what to title this post. It is not enough to discuss criminal justice reform. It is not enough to discuss immigration reform. It is not enough to support equal rights for men, women, and the LGBTQ community. It is not enough to stand for those marginalized by the religious right. It is not enough to support healthcare as a right as well as living wages. Social Justice encompasses all of these issues and more.

This post is the first of a group that will clearly and hopefully concisely express Bernie Sander’s views, proposals, and actual actions on the issues that are impacting America. At times I will contrast him with other candidates but for the most part he will be the focus. The goal here is to clear up the lies being spewed by the media and other candidates on his electability and what his plans really mean for us, the American people.

Social justice is a big umbrella and a bunch of important issues fall under it. One of these issues is criminal justice reform. Yesterday the grand jury in the Sandra Bland case chose to not indict anyone for her death. Bernie Sanders spoke out bravely about her story when it came out and met with her family without publicizing the fact or trying to gain points off of it. Below is his statement on the grand jury decision and it is worth the read.

“Sandra Bland should not have died while in police custody. There’s no doubt in my mind that she, like too many African-Americans who die in police custody, would be alive today is she were a white woman. My thoughts are with her family and loved ones tonight. We need to reform a very broken criminal justice system.” Bernie Sanders

This is a bold statement for an underdog in this campaign. He has been rebuffed by all the pundits and vilified for his ideals by some as well. Yet he marches on as he did so many years ago with Martin Luther King Jr.

Bernie Sanders has also issued a comprehensive plan for criminal justice reform. This includes but is not limited to demilitarizing the police, establishing community policing, requiring body cameras for police, as well as training in de-escalation techniques. A change in the code among police officers that allows for and gives good police officers the tools necessary to report the actions of the bad police officers. He made made clear that police forces should reflect their communities diversity in an attempt to help resolve the racism in our justice system.

“We must address the lingering unjust stereotypes that lead to the labeling of black youths as “thugs” and “super predators.”

Stereotypes like the ones that Hillary and Bill Clinton helped perpetuate. People of color need to understand that no matter how cool the Clintons have appeared to be they are not for people of color and have not been for a long time.

“They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way but first we have to bring them to heel and the President has asked the FBI to launch a very concerted effort against gangs everywhere.” Hillary Clinton 1/25/1996 C-Span

No longer, will this tough on crime approach be tolerated. Criminal justice reform must include the overhaul of the failed War on Drugs. When the right is admitting it has failed you know it really has. Bernie Sanders is clear on the need to legalize marijuana. It is not simply about legalizing a drug but about taking purposeful steps to end the era of mass incarceration.

Black and brown youth are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and receive longer sentences for drug offenses despite data that show that people of all ethnicities use and abuse marijuana at among the same rates. He is against the death penalty as well and cosponsored the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that eliminated the five-year mandatory minimum prison term for first-time possession of crack cocaine.

He has also as a senator introduced legislation to end private prisons for federal prisoners. Bernie Sanders has no contributions from the private prison or private detention sector and is therefore not invested in their high recidivism rates. He also supports stopping local governments from relying on fines, fees or asset forfeitures as a steady source of revenue because this disproportionally impacts poor communities and minorities.

Bernie Sanders has committed himself to investing in mental health care. As a mental health care worker and advocate it is refreshing to hear something other than blame for the over 43 million Americans that suffer with mental illness. It is past time for the stigma to end. It is time for resources to be allocated to minorities and low SES individuals that need mental health care more than they need to be locked up. With Bernie Sanders we can have a president that will commit to getting people help rather than stick them in the pipeline that leads to jail over and over again.

“We need to invest in drug courts as well as medical and mental health interventions for people with substance abuse problems, so that people  with addiction do not end up in prison, they end up in treatment.”

Criminal justice reform is just the first step, this segment will continue with the rest of the social justice issues that Bernie stands for as well as the other important issues impacting America today. Feel free to share it with the Bernie doubters, especially the ones that think that people of color have some sort of blind allegiance to Hillary. We owe her and any other politician NOTHING. Any support for Bernie is based on our research and our own reasoning.

 

 

 

 

Image link: http://www.alternativesjournal.ca/sites/default/files/imagecache/slide_detail/article/raised%20fists%20%C2%A9%20aleutie%20Fotolia_57624838_Subscription_Monthly_M.jpg

Why Some Feminists are Choosing an Old White Guy over Hillary

Why Some Feminists are Choosing an Old White Guy over Hillary

Much has been made of the possibility of America’s first female president, especially coming on the heels of our first African American president. Hillary Clinton has capitalized on this, as well she should in her debates, speeches, etc. She has called herself an outsider based on her gender. This is an interesting point which I disagree with wholeheartedly  but there is some truth there.

I recently came across an article on Feministing, DEAR NEW YORK TIMES: THE REAL REASON YOUNG FEMINISTS REJECT HILLARY that sought to make clear why Feminists, young ones in particular do not support Hillary Clinton. Certainly the clear take away is that we are not uneducated and apathetic. We have not had it “too easy” as some would say. Most important to me is the disrespectful nature of some HRC supporters to the people of color that support Bernie Sanders. It rings so similar to what Republicans say about democratic voters and their justification for gerrymandering. That being said this feminist supports Bernie Sanders for a myriad of reasons.

  1. Women of color like myself are intersectional feminists therefore we understand things like institutional racism and how they are structured through policies like that which HRC has supported re: welfare reform (TANF), and the fact that she has used racially coded language bothers us.
  2. On immigration Hillary has been all over the place. Is she as bad as some of the republicans? Absolutely not, but at times she has sounded like one. “I am adamantly against illegal immigrants.”  “People have got to stop employing illegal immigrants. [in NY] you see loads of people waiting to get picked up to go do yard work & construction work & domestic work.” (Nov 2004)
  3. She has also been against Central Americans fleeing the violence of their countries and has been clear about wanting them deported to send a message. This is said without any acknowledgement of America’s meddling in the political affairs of Central American nations. She does not mention her role in supporting a military coup against a democratically elected president in Honduras that had worsened the instability of the nation.

  4. While Hillary does support overturning Citizens United, her relationship to the case makes it messy. She will continue to look as though she is just trying to cover herself from her many enemies as a long term politician. America will benefit from corporations no longer being able to fund politicians and a candidate who speaks to that with integrity and actions is more likely to make that clear. Supporters of citizens united say its about guaranteeing free speech and that without it unions will just get a volunteer army versus spending millions but that is the point. Its a lot harder for the Koch brothers to get a volunteer army than it is for them to spend their millions. And at the end of the day, people should work to get those they believe in elected. That is they way to end apathy and promote engagement. If politicians want to increase voter turnout, they should support overturning Citizens United.
  5. Hillary supports overturning Citizens United but her top donors are corporations. There is a lack of transparency there and to millennials drowning in student loan debt or working multiple jobs to avoid that scenario the hypocrisy is repugnant. Yes repugnant, it actually is just too much to stomach. We are not an entitled generation. Everyday i speak to millenials that struggle to find work after college even with graduate degrees and certifications etc. We do not have an appreciation for a politician that can only function within a corrupt system. It is the status-quo and if Bernie was not running a populist campaign funded by the people maybe we would look the other way but that’s not reality thankfully.
  6. Millennials are the ones giving their lives in this perpetual warfare state. The 18-30 group make up over 60% of EVERY division of our military, from Marines, to Coast Guard, so when jokers like Huckabee say things like we need to earn our own freedom it stings, but it also makes me mad. When Hillary gets just as hawkish as the Republicans and defends America’s interventions around the world that have hurt our economy, cost us lives, and not accomplished anything inherently useful it is a problem.
  7. Democrats are at a crossroads. Should they continue to move to the right to score some moderates, and get more support from corporations, or should they dive in and go to the left. I say left, and here’s why. If we disagree with the republicans and we are the party for the people then we need to support policies that will benefit the people. This means an end to pretending that corporations will have everything they want and an acknowledgment and acceptance of the human toll that position brings. We need to support industry and entrepreneurship but not at the cost of lives. We should not subsidize the healthcare of employees when their CEO’s are living it up. America needs to stop with the rugged individualism and understand that there needs to be a give and take, and contrary to what the GOP is saying Corporations are doing all the taking, including of the environment. This needs to stop. A revolution will mobilize the people as it has begun to do, but status quo politics will not. The Democratic party needs to change or get left behind. Otherwise they are at risk of making the US a three party system which is a problem for them but not necessarily for our country. Sanders is not the only politician tired of where our politicians are and in time there will be more, will the Democratic party lose in order to stay true to what exactly? It doesn’t have the best history but it claims it is for Americans. This hasn’t always been true though, Dems have voted to keep refugees out, voted for CISA and more that does not and will not help America. What Bernie has touched on is bigger than this two-party system and admittedly himself. It is time for structural change and if feminists see value in that, that means feminism has grown and that is something to be proud of.

Feminists are a varied group. I will not try to speak for us all, or even the young ones, or the people of color. What I will say is that we are capable of finding out for ourselves where candidates stand and where they have moved from. On social issues the Dem side is similar but one candidate has been there longer. On economic issues, a progressive far-left “Socialist” makes sense because we have already tried socialism for the rich. It is time to try it for the working people of America, who should be called Middle Class, but because of failed policies too little qualify. Because we deserve an education, because wanting to help others with therapy, medicine, education etc is not selfish and entitled, they are just as important and necessary as a trade, which costs a lot by the way. There are many men and women at work in blue collar jobs  trying to pay down that vocational diploma.

To conclude, do not generalize us as needy, or ignorant. We are educated, independent, social justice warriors. We raise families, work, support those less fortunate and want to see America restore its moral standing more than its fictionally weak military standing. We want to see our vets treated and treated well. We want to live in a world that works for us as long as we put forth the effort to make something of ourselves. We value integrity in a candidate just as much as experience. This and more is why I will vote for another old white guy instead of Hillary Clinton.

 

PS: I’ll wait for Elizabeth Warren.